The Development of Web Space

Rogers (2013) mentioned several different periods of web space in his book: the web-as-hyperspace period, the web-as-public-sphere, the social-networks period and the locative period. ¬†According to this sequence, our web space is changing from hyperspace to a more “grounded” space. Or, as what Rogers said in his book: the death of the cyberspace is also caused by cybergeographic space. (p.40)

Indeed, what I have felt about we space so far is pretty similar to Rogers. In the past, maybe when I was in senior high school, websites could only associate to other sites, organizations by linking. Some websites would show lots of links of other related websites in certain area. Just like what Rogers mentioned, these links could be viewed as “acts of associations”.(p.44) Also, some conclusions could also be derived based on different domain types. Rogers illustrated two very interesting figures (Figure 2.7 and 2.8) about cyberspace, and at that time, social network and geography haven’t appeared yet. (p. 50-51)

Then, as the developing of search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Baidu, websites tend to be seperated into different spheres. Here comes an issue that, since search engines apply different algorithms into building “spheres”, the reality of the websites are crucial. If website owners set the links improperly, search engines would fail definitely. Therefore, the politics of web space concerns a lot. Additionally, just like Rogers mentioned that web space is divided into subspheres such as news sphere and blog sphere. It becomes difficult to do cross-sphere search, and the resources is also hard to explore. (p.52)

Network period could be the most understandable period to me. I’ve done many studies about social network during my undergraduate, especially for e-commerce. After analyzing many different sites, network mapping could be used to dig out infos that underlying in the dark. Blogs and microblogs boost in network period, and self-representation come to the surface. Information is no longer revealed from certain single media but everybody. Therefore, based on network mapping, we review all the infos related as Rogers use “fact-checking” to describe it. For instance, if we get some information from solely media, we might want to check the reliability of this info by checking other related resources via network mapping.

Last, the locative period. Actually location is currently a very popular research field combined with mobile technology. When I was finding instructors for my PhD program, I found many professors start to study geologic information system (GIS) and other related sphere. Actually, locative period could benefit us a lot. Mobile Location could bring us lots of convenience when going out. For example, I just had a solo tour in Canada, and what supported me all through my trip was Google Map. Especially in Montreal and Quebec, people use French most, so it was really hard for me to familiarize the streets. As for locative web space, Rogers stated that it could relieve the problem of “equality and demographic concentration” and scandalizing, which I totally agree. Information about location and geography collect geographic demographics automatically, also it could easily investigate the scandals for which Roger presents an example in his book. (p.58)

Overall, the approaches people treat web space is evolving, and Rogers asks a good question that what is the politics of cross-sphere research? Maybe when we are doing our own research, we should think about it thoroughly.

Reference:

Rogers, R. (2013). Digital methods. MIT press.